What happens when you combine a hard-working dog, like the Belgian Malinois, with a Labrador Retriever? That’s what we’re going to cover in this article! We’ll take a brief look at both breeds, what you need to know about a Labrador Malinois mix and more. Let’s get started!
What is a Belgian Malinois Lab Mix?
A Labrador Malinois mix is the combination of a purebred Belgian Malinois with a purebred Labrador Retriever. The combination is a crossbreed, which combines certain aspects of both breeds in one puppy. Talk about adorable—a Lab Malinois mix is just that—all cuteness! However, there are some things you need to know about these really cute cross-bred puppies.
The Crossbreed Controversy: the Malinois Lab Mix
Crossbreeds are the result of breeding two purebred parents. These are sometimes called “hybrid dogs” or “designer dogs.” There are many people who don’t see anything wrong by mixing two purebred dogs. In fact, they believe there are many good reasons to do so. However, other people disagree.
Some dog experts believe these “designer dogs” are nothing more than mutts. But there are others who say no, mutts are usually the result of many dog breeds coming together, while the designer dog comes two purebred parents.
In addition, some believe that crossing two breeds is a great way to solve genetic health issues; however, there is a problem with this theory. The issue arises if both dog breeds have a tendency to the same genetic issues. The topic is highly controversial and again, we’ll say that the cross of a Belgian Malinois and a Labrador Retriever is not that common at all.
A Cross Between Malinois & Lab
This is a combination you won’t see very often, though you may find a Malinois Labrador mix at a shelter or animal rescue. Most people think of Labs and how they sweet they are. So, does this sweetness help balance out the Malinois all-work temperament? That depends on each individual dog’s personality.
When it comes to their size, expect the Labrador Malinois mixed-breed dog to be on the larger side. The Lab Malinois mix weighs between 40 to 80lbs. They’ll also be very energetic. When we say, “very energetic,” we seriously mean the dog will be highly energetic. In temperament and behavior, it’s not always possible to predict a cross-bred dog’s personality and behavior. Each dog is unique. Having said that, a Labrador Malinois cross may be more unpredictable, and will more than likely need a lot of socializing by someone who will be seen as an “alpha leader” by the dog.
The Lab Malinois mix’s parents are both working dogs; the mix is also a great working dog. Labs are traditionally used as retrievers and hunting, while the Malinois was used as a shepherding dog. With these credentials, you can expect a Labrador Malinois to be highly intelligent. They are also known for their excellent stamina and guarding instincts.
Some of these dogs may tend to be more on the sweet side, while others are more sensitive, or outgoing. It just depends on the dog—there’s really no way to predict exactly what they’ll be like. However, we can’t stress enough that a Labrador Malinois cross will need someone who understands dogs and can be the alpha in the relationship. Otherwise, the dog will determine he is the alpha, and then you’ll some major issues.
What is a Belgian Malinois?
These are highly intelligent working dogs that first originated in Belgium during the 1800s, but then found their way to the U.S. by the 1900s. The breed was developed to be a working dog, specifically a shepherd of cattle, sheep, etc. Belgian Malinois are highly loyal to their pet parents and families; in fact, they will form a bond that can’t be separated with their alpha pet parent.
In addition, the Malinois requires regular strenuous exercise every day, because they are bred to work. They enjoy jogging, hiking, playing fetch and more, and are best for families that are highly active. They do well with dog sports and agility competitions, and enjoy regular obedience training classes. In fact, Malinois are highly trainable. The dogs need be mentally and physically stimulated in order to be happy.
These dogs have a strong prey instinct, making them not usually recommended for families with young children or other animals (especially cats). Because of their strong prey instinct, they have a tendency to nip or bite; they do bite very hard.
These awesome dogs are recommended for experienced pet parents who understand exactly what this dog needs. They will need to ensure there’s an alpha pet parent in charge, and that the dog receives plenty of exercise and attention. Otherwise, a Malinois can become bored or depressed, which an lead to destructive or even aggressive behavior.
What is a Labrador Retriever?
The Labrador Retriever is one of the most common family dogs around! These very friendly dogs bond th their entire family, and they enjoy socializing with other humans and dogs. In addition, they’re also highly energetic and need a lot of exercise.
Labs are known for being hard-working and good-natured. They’re often used as hunters, assistance dogs, show dogs, trained for search and rescue and other types of work for dogs. These dogs are highly trainable and love to work, but they also enjoy having some fun!
Compared to the prey drive, Labs generally have a lower prey drive than the Malinois; however, if they’ve been trained to hunt, then the dog could have a high pray instinct than other Labs. Just like the Malinois, Labs needs a lot of exercise to get rid of their excess energy. And the exercise needs to be intense. This can include jogging, playing fetch, and more. They also do well in dog competitions, including agility and other dog sports. They also enjoy training sessions to help them stay mentally fit.
Labs are sweet natured, which makes them great companions or therapy dogs. They’re intelligent and can be trained to assist people who have disabilities. Did we mention they also make great watchdogs? Labs are very protective of their family and their home.
Health Issues in Labrador Malinois Dogs
Both the Labrador Retriever and the Belgian Malinois can suffer from various health issues. One health issue both dog breeds share is hip dysplasia. This is a painful condition of the hip, where the socket becomes malformed. It can cause gait problems, arthritis and more. This is usually a genetic issue that’s common both breeds.
The dogs can also develop other health issues common to both parents, including:
- Ear infections
- Elbow dysplasia
- Arthritis in shoulder joint
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Thyroid disease
- Bloat (also known as gastric dilatation volvulus)
Even though the Lab Malinois mix can develop these health conditions, it doesn’t mean your dog will have any of these issues. The best way to ensure you have a healthy dog is to get your fur baby from a reputable breeder.
Reputable breeders test their mothers and fathers for certain genetic health risks. If you get your dog from a good breeder, there’s a better chance of having a healthy dog.
Temperament of Lab Malinois
When it comes to temperament of a Lab Malinois dog or puppy, there’s no way to tell exactly what their personality will be like. Each dog is a beautiful, unique individual. However, both the Lab and the Malinois are work dogs, who need to have a job in order to happy.
Malinois are a herding dog breed, and they often are “one-person dogs.” In other words, these dogs are very loyal to one person. A Malinois may have a favorite person in their family and then almost ignore their other family members.
In addition, these dogs have a strong guarding instinct, which makes them very protective and wary of strangers. They’re also known for being extremely brave in defending their homes and families. Malinois also learn complex commands pretty quickly.
The Labrador Retriever has a strong instinct to fetch things and carry them around. They were originally used as retrievers for waterfowl hunters. The dogs are also very smart and learn complex tasks quickly. However, they’re not the best guard dogs, as they love almost everyone they meet! But this quality also makes them excellent family dogs.
Having said that, it could also be the crossbreed puppy could have an extreme of either the Malinois or the Lab temperaments. Or the puppy could develop a balanced personality with characteristics of both mellowed out. It’s just hard to tell. We do know that if you need a dog for a specific job, then a mixed breed puppy is probably not the best option. Instead, it’s better to choose a purebred dog that has the specific skills needed for the work.
Training & Socialization
Your Lab Malinois mix is the result of crossing two highly energetic breeds, so count on making sure the dog is properly trained and socialized. Both breeds need training and socialization, so your mixed Lab Malinois will definitely need this to make sure they stay happy and healthy.
And remember that your mixed dog will need to always be supervised around young children and other pets. This is due to the strong prey instinct in the Malinois, and some Labs. For this mix, you’ll want to make sure training and socializing are done in a positive manner. Also keep it fun! This is a great way to bond with your Lab Malinois dog!
Malinois Lab Mix Coloring
When it comes to the coloring of your Belgian Shepherd Lab mix, it will vary. Labs generally come in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. However, sometimes they may even appear white or silver. Malinois come in four colors that can include black-tipped fawn, black-masked fawn, mahogany or tan.
As a result, you could end up with a Belgian Malinois black lab mix, or some other color combination. This will depend on the parents and how the genetics play out in the puppies. There’s way to determine exactly what colors the puppies may be.
When it comes to grooming a Malinois Lab, both the purebred dogs have coats that help them deal with all types of weather. Both also tend to shed, especially in the fall and spring. Your mixed fur baby will definitely need to be brushed at least once a week, but more often during the high shedding seasons.
As bathing, your Malinois Lab will require occasional bathing, depending on how often he gets dirty and stinky. Some dogs may benefit from a weekly bath, while others may only need to be bathed once a month or so. A Malinois Lab mix will also need his toenails regularly trimmed, about once every three months, or when they become too long.
What About Malinois Mixed with Other Dog Breeds?
It is possible to breed the Belgian Malinois with other dogs, such as a Golden Retriever, which would result in a Belgian Malinois Golden Retriever mix. Here, again, the characteristics of the dog will depend on the purebred parents.
The Malinois Lab mix can result in a wonderful dog. Just remember that these dogs are highly energetic and need positive reinforcement training. They also need to be kept busy and get plenty of exercise, plus you’ll need to be the alpha in the equation!